Managing Ball of Foot Pain in Dancers

Pain, associated with overuse, at one point or another is inevitable when it comes to any physical activity such as playing a sport, running, and even dancing.  I am a ballroom dancer who dances in 3″ Latin heels.  Lately, I have been experiencing pain at the ball of my foot that started during one of my dance practices. The pain is worse when I wear my dance shoes, or rise on demipointe.  There is no swelling, but the pain gets so bad that the ball of my foot is sensitive to the touch.

I have tried massaging the pain out of the ball of my foot; soaking my feet in Epsom salt; I’ve tried icing it; wearing flats during the day; I’ve even switched to Cuban heel practice shoes (these shoes have a thick, bulky heel of about an 1″).  All these things helped lessen the pain, but I need more protection for the ball of my foot so that I can get back in my 3″ Latin dance shoes.

After doing some research, I ordered a dancer’s pad from Amazon to help relieve the ball of foot pain.  This pad is suppose to protect the big toe joint, cushion the metatarsals, and help absorb shock and pressure.  These pads work great for every day use inside street shoes, but it just wasn’t enough for dancing.  It would sweat off, slip and slide after a couple of hours of dancing and scrunch up underneath my step. The dancer’s pads were just too uncomfortable and didn’t fit quiet right. Disappointed and frustrated, I decided to try something different. I made my own dancer’s pad!



1. Moleskin Foam Padding – can be found at a local pharmacy, comes in a pack of 2 rectangular shaped pads that are thick and adhesive.

2. Nexcare 3M Durable Cloth Tape (or any brand cloth tape) – can be found at a local pharmacy, is an adhesive cloth tape and does not require the use of scissors as it tears easily.

3. Scissors

4. Pen





1. Using the Moleskin Foam Pad, cut the desired J-Shape to custom fit your foot (finding the best shape may take several tries).  Keep in mind that you want the padding around the ball of your foot. For an example, see the pic below.IMG_8112IMG_8114IMG_8113









2. Using the Cloth Tape, secure the J-Shape pad to the desired spot on your foot and tape it several times.  The great thing about this is that you can make it as tight or as loose as you need it to be.  Make sure to tape the whole pad so that way it doesn’t slide or move as you dance.  This will also help prevent it getting caught on your socks or the shoe itself and prevent it from getting all scrunched up underneath your foot.












Making my own dancer’s pad has helped me big time.  It’s the best way I’ve found to customize and maximize the support I need in helping to relive my ball of foot pain.  It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it protects my foot so that I can do what I love, which is dance!

***WARNING:  I am NOT a doctor, medical professional or have any kind of medical training.  Please use this information at your own risk and always consult a doctor first for any medical related injuries, strains, etc.***

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